Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)

One of the hardback art books I have on my shelf is calledAndrew Wyeth, The Helga Pictures.” My edition is from 1987 with the text  written by John Wilmerding.  So, you might be wondering by now, who is Helga?  As written on the inside flap of my book, it states that she was “‘model, Helga Testorf, a neighbor of the Wyeths in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.” On the cover of this book is my favorite Helga portrait paintings by Andrew Wyeth. To me, the artist  has captured the beauty of the bone structure of the human female face.

Andew Wyeth, The Helga Pictures

And, flipping through one of my old National Geographic, July 1991 issue, I found an article written about The Wyeth Family with the following written by Richard Meryman on page 92:

“She was quite remarkable in her earthy, German quality,” says Andrew Wyeth.  For 15 years Wyeth and his model, neighbor Helga Testof, collaborated in secret.  When revealed in 1986, their hundreds of intimate works stunned the art world__and turned Helga’s world upside down. “Art is selfish,” says Helga, who has never before allowed her photograph to be published. “Do you think I’m selfish,” asks Andrew. “Yes,” she says, “But you can call it love.”

Probably one of the most famous paintings by Andrew Wyeth is from 1948 and titled  Christina’s World”.

Written by Mary Gilmartin, May 19, 2013


Filed under Art, Books

12 responses to “Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)

  1. Pingback: A look at Maine | Between Land and Sky

  2. Thanks for sharing Mary. I live about an hour and a bit south of Chadds Ford and have been to Brandy Wine Museum several times. My brother, who is a watercolorist, were able to take a tour that Wyeth’s granddaughter led. Her stories were wonderful. One can also eat at the restaurant where Helga worked. Thanks again.

  3. Kev

    I love the Vingette!

  4. how i love the wyeth legacy! thank you for opening that window, and i’ve been on a search for his painting, ‘she’s back,” that i saw in the brandywine museum – probably in the late 80’s or early 90’s. is it in the book?

    thanks so much for this post.


    • All the Wyeth’s are great painters and you’re welcome for this post. However, I don’t see the painting you mention in this book.

      • i rounded a corner in the museum, and there was helga, eye to eye with me.. totally bouyant in beautiful transparent water. she had that serene yet mischevious sparkle in her eyes, and the name of the painting was ‘she’s back.’

        that painting was one of my favorites, because it caught me offguard and because of the humor of the title. the other painting was the finale with the maypole image, which all but reduced me to tears. one has to have loved wyeth’s work in order to appreciate the final, i think.


  5. veraersilia

    I love Wyeth. I think all his paintings have a stunning quality that hovers between reality and dream. I also have stuff about Helga. I can see how her face and person would attract.

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